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The abortion pill is catching on, but only slowly. Contrary to predictions, few physicians have prescribed Mifepristone (also known as RU-486) in the year since the Food and Drug Administration granted approval.

The reason seems to be rising safety concerns. The New York-based Population Council, which owns the rights to the drug in the United States, reported a Mifepristone tragedy in September. A Canadian woman died of septic shock from a rare infection during clinical testing of the drug.

In 1994, an Iowa woman nearly died of severe hemorrhaging in another trial of the drug.

Such occasions are "all too frequent," says Gene Rudd, who opposes legalized abortion as associate executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

Mifepristone, taken with the prostaglandin Misoprostol, which makes the uterine muscles contract, can induce abortions in women with gestations of no more than 49 days.

But side effects are common (ct, June 11, p. 58).

According to a study released in September by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 6 percent of obstetricians/gynecologists and 1 percent of general practitioners had offered the Mifepristone regimen to women. However, an additional 16 percent of the former and 7 percent of the latter say they are likely to begin offering the drug.



Related Elsewhere


Recent Christianity Today articles on RU-486 include:
Counteroffensive Launched on RU-486 | Abortion-pill critics allege safety concerns overlooked in FDA approval process. (June 15, 2001)Bush's Prolife Strategy Questioned | White House chief of staff says abortion isn't on list of public policy priorities. (June 15, 2001)Bitter Pills | What does RU-486 change about abortion? (Dec. 11, 2000)Activists Respond on RU-486 | Religious groups ...
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RU-486: Doctors Slow to Prescribe Abortion Pill
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In the Magazine

November 12, 2001

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